Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong For Years To Come

MA Blog | Home Demand Strong

There has been a lot written about millennials and their preference to live in city centers above their favorite pizza place. Some have even gone so far as to say that millennials are a “Renter-Generation”.

And while this might be true for some millennials, more and more research has surfaced that shows for the vast majority, owning a home is a major part of their American Dream!

New research shows that 66% of millennials who currently rent are determined to buy a home! Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by Pulsenomics plan to buy a home in the next five years, with 40% planning to do so within the next two years!

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come | Keeping Current Matters

“Millennials want to own a home as much as prior generations,” Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at Meyers Research says. “We saw millennial shoppers scooping up homes in 2018—and 2019 will be no different.”

Bottom Line

Are you one of the millions of renters who are ready and willing to buy a home? Give me a call today and I can help determine your ability to buy now!

Originally published here.

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Slaying The Largest Homebuying Myths Today


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First Annual Nick Pasquale Foundation Charity Golf Tournament

NickPGolfTourn | SC Homes Blog

Nick Pasquale Foundation is excited to host the first annual Nick Pasquale Foundation Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at the Talega Golf Club.

You can register as a single golfer, a foursome, or choose one of the corporate sponsorship packages. Make sure you sign up quickly, space is limited! Register here.

Standard Registration:

Single Golfer – $150
Foursome – $600
Dinner Only – $50

Interested in Corporate Sponsorship Packages? Check out our Corporate Sponsorship Packages PDF to see what is included in each sponsorship level.

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Data Says April Is The Best Month To List Your Home For Sale

April Selling | SC Homes Blog

The spring housing market is off to the races! The inventory of homes for sale is increasing, buyers are out in force, and interest rates have remained low, piquing the interest of buyers and sellers previously on the fence about making a move.

New research from realtor.com shows that the first week of April is actually the best time to list your house for sale! The report used “trends in median listing prices, views per property on realtor.com, home price drops, median days on market, and number of listings on the market over the last three years,” to determine a ranking for every week of the year.

Listing your home in the first week of April contributes 14x more property views, 5% less competition from other home sellers, and results in the home being sold 6 days faster!

Below is a graph indicating the average score for each month of the year.

Data Says April is the Best Month to List Your Home for Sale | Keeping Current Matters

It should come as no surprise that April and May dominate as the top months to sell. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, often leading to bidding wars.

However, there is one caveat worth mentioning. When broken down by metro, realtor.com noticed that while warmer climates share an overall trend, they have different top sales months. The best month to get the most exposure in Miami, FL, for instance, is August, while in Phoenix, AZ, June leads the charge.

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, 41% of homes sold last month were on the market for less than 30 days! If you list now, you’ll have a really good chance to sell in April or May, setting yourself up for the most exposure!

Bottom Line

Give me a call today to find out the market conditions in your area to get the most exposure to the buyers ready and willing to make a move!

Originally published here.

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Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

Ma Blog | 2019 Home Selling

Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

But relatively speaking, 2019 might be the best time for you to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America, recommends going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.

“I think it’ll be better than 2020 and 2021 – who knows what’s going to happen in those years,” Ron says.

Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you bought your house in the last year or two, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game.

Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019:

  • New buyers are still entering the market.
  • Interest rates are still on the lower end.
  • You have high equity.
  • Selling now will be better than waiting till 2020.

New Buyers Are Still Entering the Market

As interest rates rise, some buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a home or apply for a mortgage, so be ready to see occasional drops in buyer activity. And if your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than before. Ron notes the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices exceeding buyers’ budgets are what has caused the slowing of homebuyer activity in recent months.

But with available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. In a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned by real estate information company Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.

The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest Rates Are Still Low-ish

Mortgage interest rates have been on a bit of a bumpy road over the last few months. Interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage reached their highest level in over seven years in November 2018, when they hit 4.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac. As of the end of February 2019, however, interest rates are down slightly to 4.35 percent, according to the mortgage loan company. While it’s reasonable to expect mortgage rates to continue to climb gradually throughout the next year, they’ll remain much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.

It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.

Just because the Fed raises rates at one meeting doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow that exact pattern. “Not every Fed increase is passing on (to) a mortgage rate,” says John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank.

A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though Pataky notes that you should be ready to see rates continue to climb. “We do expect over the next 12 months that mortgage rates will continue to drift higher,” he says.

If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

You Have High Equity

Homeowners who bought during the recession or shortly after benefitted from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode. If you fall into that category, your home equity has risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses on the block that sold for a higher price.

The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which can easily go toward the down payment on your next house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be, and the less likely you’ll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.

Selling in 2019 vs. 2020

If not selling your home in 2019 means putting your house on the market in 2020, the sooner option is the best one. In a survey of 100 U.S. real estate experts and economists by real estate information company Zillow, released in May, almost half expect the next recession to occur in 2020. Another 14 percent believe the recession will hold out until 2021, while 24 percent of panelists expect the recession earlier – sometime in 2019.

Whether you believe the recession is imminent or a long way off, current real estate patterns indicate a sudden upswing in activity or prices is unlikely in the near future. Real estate markets tend to operate on a cycle of their own, the length of which varies by market but can be between 10 and 16 years total and flow from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.

“It doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon that’s going to cause a big spike in home prices or increase demand dramatically,” Ron says.

Originally published here. 

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How Investing in a House Can Pay Off

MA Blog | Invest in a home

If you’ve ever been house shopping, you’ve probably heard some version of this phrase from a real estate agent: “This will be the best investment you make!”

A lot has been said about buying a home as a real estate investment. But is your home a true real estate investment? Will it actually provide you with big returns down the road? While it’s certainly possible that it will pay off, the reality is that the home you live in probably isn’t a true investment – at least in terms of financial returns.

What are the Costs of Owning a Primary Residence?

Before you decide that owning a primary residence allows you to come out ahead, it’s important to consider how much you spend on it. You’re not just buying a home for $200,000 and hoping you can sell it for $500,000 down the road. You also have to consider the costs involved.

The biggest expenditure you make when buying a home with a mortgage is the interest. If you buy a home for $200,000 at 3.92 percent, you’ll end up paying $140,427 in interest if you keep the home for 30 years. And don’t forget the other costs that come with buying a home:

  • Property taxes.
  • Homeowners insurance.
  • Maintenance.
  • Repairs.
  • Any upgrades or remodels.
  • Landscaping and yard care.

By the time you add up everything over the course of a couple decades, even if you do sell the home for more than you paid for it, there’s a good chance your profit will in actuality be rather small.

Don’t count on tax breaks to make up for it, either. You have to itemize to claim the mortgage interest deduction – and fewer people are doing that due to recent changes in the tax law. In fact, only 10 percent of homeowners paying interest are likely to benefit, according to a White House report. However, even prior to the 2017 law, just over half of those paying interest on their mortgages benefited from the deduction.

Location, Location, Location

Where you live matters, too. If you live somewhere that housing prices explode over time, there’s a good chance you really can make a healthy profit when you sell your home. Those places are few and far between, however. Many of us live in markets where annual home appreciation is more likely to keep just ahead of inflation rather than offer dazzling returns on par with annualized stock market returns.

And, of course, you can’t forget timing. What happens if you want to sell, but the real estate market crashes just before you planned to sell. If you don’t ride out the downturn, you could end up locking in real losses.

Does Your Home Produce Income?

While there is a case that long-term appreciation can be considered a type of investment, one of the real tests of a true real estate investment is whether you can get income out of it. Unfortunately, when you live in the home you bought with a mortgage, you’re probably not bringing in income. Instead, it’s all outlay for keeping the house in good shape – unless you’re making some money by renting out a room.

When you buy a home that you plan to rent out, the story changes. For some, real estate investment is more about establishing cash flow, instead of hoping that they’ll see appreciation down the road. A rental unit can be one way to make money from real estate investing. You have expenses to pay, yes, but the income you get from renting out the property can offset those costs – and even provide you with regular income.

Before getting caught up in the idea that your home is going to offer an amazing potential return, take a step back. Chances are that your home alone isn’t going to be enough to set you up for wealth. Depending on the situation, you might not even come out ahead when all’s said and done.

But that doesn’t mean your primary residence doesn’t offer something in the way of a return.

A Home Can Still be Valuable

Just because your home doesn’t offer you an income stream, and even if you don’t actually end up with a real profit by the time you’ve paid interest, insurance, taxes, and more over the course of years, it doesn’t mean you aren’t getting value. Here are some of the potential advantages of homeownership:

Forced savings. When you do sell, it can feel like you’ve made a profit because you end up with a large chunk of capital. You can use that capital to invest and fund your lifestyle, downsize, or make some other decision.

An asset to call on later. Even if it costs you, the fact that you have an asset that can be tapped for various purposes has value itself. A home equity loan or line of credit can be helpful down the road.

ifestyle perks. Many people enjoy the lifestyle perks of homeownership. You can do what you want with the home, put down roots in the community, and provide a safe place for your family.

Retirement housing. As long as you have a way to keep up with property taxes and insurance, a paid-off home can provide you with low-cost housing during retirement.

The key is to decide what you want out of your home. If you’re looking for a true real estate investment, maybe a primary residence isn’t the answer. But if you want returns beyond just money, buying a home has much to offer.

Originally published here. 

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4 Reasons To Buy A Home In The Spring

Home Buying Spring | MA Blog

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The cost of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Originally published here.

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IN ESCROW! 27237 Via Capri, San Juan Capistrano 92675


Prime location with golf course and historic San Juan Mission views.  This home has been fully upgraded and shows like a model.  Open floor plan with cathedral ceilings.  Large master bedroom with walk out sunning patio area.  Two additional large bedrooms with a beautiful remodeled full bathroom.  Private loft area with spiral staircase.  The backyard patio and side yard are professionally landscaped.  Direct access to oversized garage with large overhead storage.  San Juan Hills golf club is just around the corner.  Association pool and spa are located in close proximity.  Resort style living in the hills of San Juan.

3 Bed, 2 Full Bath, Large Loft area, 1,692 Sq Ft, -2 Car Attached Garage

001_Front002_Family Room003_Family Room004_Family Room005_Family Room006_Stairs to Loft007_Loft Living Media008_Loft Retreat009_Dining010_Dining011_Kitchen Breakfast012_Kitchen Breakfast013_Master Bedroom014_Master Bedroom015_Master Bedroom016_Master Patio Retreat017_Master Bathroom018_Master Bathroom019_Hallway Cabinetry020_2nd Bedroom021_2nd Bathroom022_3rd Bedroom023_Golf Course View024_Back of Home025_Patio Retreat026_Patio Retreat027_Patio Retreat

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Top Orange County Things to Do in March

March_ Event Calendar

Festivals of food, music, veggies and tattoos—and that’s not even all. Check out our list of things to do in Orange County this March.

Kids’ Chess Tournament
Mar. 1. San Clemente Knights invite all levels for this fun and friendly outdoor chess tournament, including a pizza dinner, Academic Chess-rated games and a quick lesson. Parents can stay and watch, or enjoy shopping and dining at Outlets at San Clemente. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $20 per child, $15 each additional child. Center Court at Outlets at San Clemente, 101 W. Avenida Vista Hermosa, Suite 190, San Clemente, 949.535.2323. outletsatsanclemente.com

Mar. 1-10.
 Back for its seventh year, the week-long tomato seminar offers an astonishing selection of heirloom and hybrid tomato plant varieties, including new varieties for 2019 and the Tomato of the Year. See website for hours. Roger’s Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, 949.640.5800. rogersgardens.com

Napa in Newport 
Mar. 2. Enjoy a selection of fine, rare and reserve wines from renowned Napa Valley wineries alongside perfectly paired culinary creations and a live auction. Benefits CureDuchenne which helps raise funds to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 5-10 p.m. Monarch Beach Resort, 1 Monarch Resort, Dana Point. napainnewport.org

Lantern Festival 2019
Mar. 2.
 Celebrate Pacific Symphony’s fourth annual Lantern Festival honoring the Year of the Pig. Highlights include live entertainment, Chinese folk dance lessons, lantern decorating, riddles and delicious eats. Enjoy performances featuring local music and dance groups in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and activities on the Argyros Plaza. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787. scfta.org

Dueling Pianos
Mar. 2, 9. The Traveling Keys OC perform their dueling piano extravaganza and sing-a-long in the Queen Mary’s Queen’s Salon. Get ready to move your feet and sing along. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $15. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 562.499.1739. queenmary.com

Festival of Whales
Mar. 2-3, 9-10.
 Celebrate the annual spring migration of gray whales with Dana Point Harbor’s 48th annual Festival of Whales. Activities include a parade, concerts, car shows, whale watching, Rubber Ducky Derby and Diamond Dig. See website for full schedule of events. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, 949.496.1045. festivalofwhales.com

OC Restaurant Week
Mar. 3-9. Eat. Drink. Repeat. One hundred and fifty of Orange County’s favorite restaurants dish up delicious prix fixe menus at fantastic prices. New focuses this year include cocktails, and breakfast for dinner; new guides are divided into categories such as family-friendly dining, date night and ladies’ night. Lunch $10-$25, dinner $20-$50. ocrestaurantweek.com

Rock for the Cause
Mar. 4. Rock out with Laguna Beach’s The 133 Band for an evening that benefits Friendship Shelter. The event will feature live music, drinks and hors d’oeuvres, courtesy of Skyloft. All proceeds will directly help end homelessness in the community. 7:30 p.m. $75+. Skyloft, 422 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.494.6928. Tickets

Pianist Beatrice Rana
Mar. 6.
 Pianist Beatrice Rana—Gramophone‘s Young Artist of the Year and winner of the silver medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition—appears at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Rana’s program on the Laguna Chamber Music Series includes Chopin’s Etudes, Ravel’s Miroirs and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. 8 p.m. $20-$98. 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 949.553.2422. philharmonicsociety.org

Disney’s Aladdin
Mar. 6-23. Soak in the unforgettable beauty, magic and comedy of the stage adaptation of the timeless Disney classic, Aladdin. Expect all your favorite songs from the film, as well as new music written by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken. See website for show times. $30+. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787. scfta.org

Casa Up Close: Doctor Tom Deméré, Paleontologist
Mar. 7. Learn about artificial intelligence and the positive potential it can contribute to the well-being of society. Dr. Tom Deméré, paleontology curator at the San Diego Natural History Museum, will talk about his most exciting discoveries. 7-8 p.m. $10-$12. Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, 949.498.2139. casaromantica.org

Shop The Expo at Neiman Marcus
Mar. 8-9. Meet the new names that are shaking up the beauty industry at this one-of-a-kind shopping event, featuring exclusive products and limited-edition gifts with purchase. F 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sa 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Neiman Marcus Fashion Island, 601 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. indiebeautyexpo.com

Hoag Classic
Mar. 8-10. Returning for its 25th year, the Hoag Classic (formerly Toshiba Classic) brings golfers with worldwide professional victories to Southern California. Expect golf legends such as Fred Couples, John Daly, Bernhard Langer and Mark O’Meara, plus 80 additional players to compete in the tournament. $25 pre-sale, $30 day-of. Newport Beach Country Club, One Clubhouse Drive, Newport Beach, 949.660.1001. hoagclassic.com

Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival
March 8-10. Musink returns to Orange County for its 12th year to celebrate music and tattoos with more than 300 of the world’s finest tattoo artists and killer entertainment. See performances by The Vandals, Limp Bizkit, Travis Barker, Suicidal Tendencies and many more. See website for weekend schedule and ticket options. Single day passes start at $29. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. musink.org

OC Wine Fest
Mar. 9-10. Celebrate spring at the second annual wine festival on the historical grounds of A Stones Throw Winery. Learn about and sip award-winning wines from around the globe. Taste craft beers, eat from gourmet food trucks, shop from unique vendors and enjoy live music. Sa-Su 1-5 p.m. 29943 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 818.994.4661. ocwinefest.com

Painting & Prosecco at The Resort at Pelican Hill
Mar. 13.
 Channel your inner artist with bottomless prosecco and a paintbrush on Pelican Hill’s outdoor lawn. Soak in panoramic sunset views of the Pacific while creating your own artistic masterpiece. Taught by local art guru Timree Gold, this step-by-step class is perfect for beginners and painting enthusiasts. Canvas and painting supplies included. 5:30 p.m. $85. 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, 949.467.6800. Tickets

Big West Basketball Tournament
March 14-16. March Madness is in full swing with the Big West Basketball Tournament and the 2019 NCAA men’s quarterfinals, women’s and men’s semifinals and women’s and men’s championship games. See website for schedule and pricing. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.778.2583. Tickets

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Pub Crawl
Mar. 16. 
The Queen Mary’s historic salons transform to Irish pubs for one night only, accompanied by festive food and drinks and traditional Irish music in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. 7 p.m.-midnight. $22 adults, $12 children. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 562.499.1739. queenmary.com

VeggiePalooza 2019
March 16-17. Taste the homegrown difference with over 100 varieties of tomatoes and 70 varieties of peppers, plus companion flowers, veggies and more available for purchase. All plants sold are grown in Fullerton at the Arboretum. Additionally, guests can participate in gardening classes, watch cooking demos and join a Q&A session with the UCEE Master Gardeners. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Fullerton Arboretum at CSUF, 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, 657.278.4010. fullertonarboretum.org

Cherry Blossom Festival
March 17. Celebrate cherry blossom season with a festival featuring Japanese food, cultural exhibits, arts, crafts, games and live performances from traditional Japanese dancers. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Free. Huntington Beach Central Park Bandstand, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach. hbjapanesefestival.com

St. Patrick’s Day at Malarky’s Irish Pub
March 17. Head to Newport Beach’s iconic Irish pub for the longest continuing St. Patrick’s Day party in the city. Beyond all the beer and Irish whiskey you can drink, expect professional bagpipers and Irish tunes, complimentary corned beef hash sandwiches and other Irish fare. Doors open at 6 a.m. 3011 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, 949.675.2340. malarkyspub.com

Swallows Day Parade
Mar. 23. Celebrate the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission with the 61st annual Swallows Day Parade. As one of the nation’s largest non-motorized parades, activities include El Presidenté Ball, Fiesta Grande, and Taste of San Juan, among others. 11 a.m. Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.1976. swallowsparade.com

OC Fashion Week
March 23-27. Fashion meets innovation, beauty and art for the 2019 season of OC Fashion Week. Check out the season’s best in ready-to-wear and one-of-a-kind couture collections. The annual event will feature emerging and leading retail designers from all over the world. See website for schedule, locations and ticket prices. ocfashionweek.com

Queensway 5K
Mar. 28.
 Lace up your sneakers and walk, run or jog through the Queen Mary’s Events Park and Long Beach harbor at the 2nd annual Queensway 5K. The course takes runners across the Queensway Bridge for breathtaking views of the Long Beach city skyline, ending at the Queen Mary Events Park for finish line celebrations, including signature food tastings, a post-run beverage and admission aboard the Queen Mary. See website for schedule; race starts 5:30 p.m. $40. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 562.499.1739. queenmary.com

Ocean Institute’s Jazz Festival
Mar. 29-30. Experience the annual jazz festival fundraiser to support the Adopt-a-Class program that benefits more than 10,000 underserved students in Southern California. On Saturday, come for a gala and a four-course dinner from the executive chefs at Monarch Beach Resort, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Montage Laguna Beach and The Laguna Cliffs Marriott. The festival features jazz artists including Grammy Award-winner Deniece Williams, plus Gregg Karukas and Michael Paulo, among others. See website for schedule and ticket prices. 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.496.2274. ocean-institute.org

March 31. Browse a collection of work from artists using mixed media art. From handmade jewelry and sculpture to primitive dolls, home decor and paper whimsy, find a large variety of unique masterpieces. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $7. Spring Field Banquet & Conference Center, 501 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, 714.573.1025. glitterfest.com

Originally published here. Edited by Laura Okey.

Photo: Hoag Classic courtesy Cornerstone Communications. OC Restaurant Week courtesy OC Restaurant Association. 

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The Best Holes on Orange County’s Best Golf Courses


You figure these holes are great when you see them. You confirm they are great when you play them—though you may not always be able to say exactly why they’re great. Aesthetics and natural beauty are factors—but golf courses from Newport Beach to Nantucket feature beautiful holes that aren’t great holes. And courses from Anaheim to Atlantic City have interesting holes whose beauty don’t take your breath away. Great golf holes are eye candy and brain food—and they’re excellent for beginners or experts.

STRAWBERRY FARMS GOLF COURSE Hole No. 10 / 369 Yards / Par 4
Short par 4s are often considered the best holes on a course. Maybe it’s because so many of them make a player think—never mind that many golfers don’t like to think.

Here’s what they think about on this short but beautiful par 4 in Irvine: Do you want to hit with an iron or hybrid off the tee and deal with a longer approach shot and fairway bunkers? Or pull out the driver and avoid all of that? Using the driver brings into play the reservoir—and potentially a large bunker.

The vista of the hills behind the hole is postcard-worthy; in fact, the views at every juncture and in every direction are the best on the course, which is owned by former Angels third baseman Doug DeCinces.

ANAHEIM HILLS GOLF CLUB Hole No. 15 / 357 Yards / Par 4
You’re on the tee, 100-plus feet above the fairway with a commanding view of the clubhouse and about half of the golf course, when you hear rustling in the bushes. It might be a rabbit. Or it might be a hawk that just found a rabbit—and flies away with its prey right over the hole you’re about to play. But back to that striking view. “This hole is all about the scenery,” says Cameron Carr, Anaheim Hills general manager.

To best play this hole, and its dramatic elevation, the average golfer should take a 3-wood or hybrid, hit it straight and let gravity do the rest. “But if you hit it bad to the right or long to the left, you’re dead,” he says. Why? “The trees on the left and the lake on the right.” A small two-tiered green awaits.

MONARCH BEACH GOLF LINKS Hole No. 3 / 315 Yards / Par 4
Yet another short par 4, this one in Dana Point. Here’s one you can drive, you think. Here’s an easy birdie, you think. And here’s Monarch Beach general manager Eric Lohman to disabuse you of both notions.

“You’d think it would play pretty easy,” Lohman says. “But you have to hit a precise layup 215 yards, then hit a 100-yard wedge shot downhill, and downwind to a green with slope and three pin placements about the size of a VW Beetle—so it’s hard to get it close. It’s the shortest hole out here, but it kicks my butt every time I play it.”

Trying to drive the hole requires a blind tee shot over trees, and a hill, to a deceptively dicey green. The less adventurous, and more intelligent, play: a long iron or hybrid to the dogleg left, then a wedge to the green, which is framed by a bunker and mounds.

Airmail all of that with your wedge and you’re literally on the beach—Salt Creek Beach. It’s a hole that requires thought, execution and no small amount of luck to walk away with a par 4.

Aside from the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean from the tee box, the genius of this Tom Fazio-designed, dogleg-right hole in sumptuous Newport Coast is simple. It is a true risk-reward hole with options and choices on every shot, starting at the tee.

“It makes you think,” agrees Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill director of instruction. “On a good tee shot, you have to make a decision. If you miss, that easy par or birdie all of a sudden turns into a big number.

“It’s all about angles on this hole,” he adds. “Which one do you want to approach? How aggressive do you want to be?”

PELICAN HILL GOLF CLUB SOUTH COURSE Hole No. 13 / 131-108 Yards / Par 3
This is one of the best and most distinctive par 3s in SoCal—and not just because of the picture-perfect view of the Pacific Ocean that greets you at the tee box and never lets go. Fazio designed this hole with two greens, bisected by a massive bunker that, from the tee box, looks like the Sahara as it wraps around the back of both. The hole may be short, but your shot had better not be, lest you find that bunker. The views are long, but your shot had better not be, lest you find the back of that bunker. On either green.

“It’s breathtaking, and it’s unique,” Deck says. “One day, you play one green, the next day, you play the other.”

The wind on the Newport Coast adds to the challenge. You can play this hole 10 times and play it 10 different ways, Deck says. This one would be great even without the incredible views.

TUSTIN RANCH GOLF CLUB Hole No. 11 / 165 Yards / Par 3
Here’s a hole that’s in your head the moment you step onto the grounds. You’d think that playing a gorgeous hole with an island green, a fountain and two waterfalls framing it all would put you in a good frame of mind. You’d be wrong.

“You could have a great round going and be standing on the tee box, looking at all the water there, and thinking I have to have a par or, at the worst, a three-putt bogey, or my round’s destroyed,” says James Spadoni, Tustin Ranch general manager.

There’s only one safe strategy: “Hit for the middle of the green,” Spadoni says. “Where you’re at in your round determines how you play this hole. It’s a make-or-break hole.”

Originally published here.

Photo courtesy Pelican Hill.

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